Ready. Set. Sail!
(Disclaimer: Sexual content and some language)
For someone who isn’t necessarily fond of sea excursions, I find myself drawn to the maritime metaphors. It’s easier for me to paint a proper visual.
Now for this taboo topic. I debated on whether or not to try to start my long and arduous story of my broken childhood, painful verbal abuse, and overall emotional roller coasters with one of the most painful and taboo bipolar symptoms: hypersexuality.
Hypersexuality is essentially, from my personal experience, an overwhelming desire and obsessive preoccupation with sex and sexual content. In the DSM-IV (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition), it’s listed as a primary symptom of bipolar under the category of “sexual indiscretions”. Bphope.com is a fantastic resource when it comes to articles and expert advice on what the symptoms look like as well as professional opinions from leading experts in bipolar disorder. The technical content I relate to in this post is accredited to them.
One such opinion pioneered by Louis J. Cozolino, PhD, a professor of psychology at Pepperdine University in southern California, and leading bipolar disorder guru, says that it’s akin to sexual addiction. He goes on to say that people who are manic with this symptom display “vulnerability to a ‘disinhibition’ of social restraints during manic periods” In fact, there are studies to suggest that there is more blood flow to the left part of the amygdala (almond-shaped part of the brain that deals with fear and panic) in bipolar patients than in other people. Furthermore, feelings of pleasure and arousal are related to a sort of calming effect. Sort of like taking painkillers.
In my experience, it’s very much like that. There doesn’t seem to be a way when you’re manic (in my case hypomanic – a watered down version of Bipolar Disorder I mania) to get proper sexual release. I compare it to an itch I need to scratch….CONSTANTLY! Masturbation 2 times a day coupled with passionate steamy sex with my husband STILL doesn’t fully satisfy my needs. I’m constantly craving more and more. My personal issues are as follows:
- Constantly talking about sex and listening to sexually driven music (“baby making music”)
- Watch pornography/sexually driven movies more frequently (I watched Magic Mike XXL two times in less than 24 hrs when it came out!)
- Masturbating more than once a day without satisfaction
- Increased sex drive leading to more sexual experiences with my husband
- Illicit activities when out at clubs with friends
- Addiction to cybersex and sexting
- More energetic, social, and flirtatious
…Just to name a few
Overall, sex became my number one priority. What’s worse is there wasn’t a definitive point as to when and how the hypomania started. That’s not uncommon. For me I trace it back to about Valentine’s Day to about mid-September. No I’m not joking. I really wish I was. And during that time, I made some awful mistakes I’m thoroughly ashamed of. I hurt and betrayed my husband and best friends. I lied. I cheated. The details of that will be in another blog that will give a complete story of what happened and how I got swept up. Names will be changed to protect those involved.
In regards to the definitions of hypersexuality and me referring to them as “symptoms”, I just want to make one thing clear: IT’S NOT AN EXCUSE! Everything I did and said was me. As much as I couldn’t stop my brain from telling me to do and say things, I didn’t have a gun pointed to my head during any of it. I would’ve stopped myself at any time if I really truly asked for help and not lied to my psychiatrist about my emotions.
The worst part is you don’t feel sick and since sex is such a taboo topic as is there doesn’t seem to be any kind of sympathy or support for someone struggling with sexual addiction. You’re labeled as a whore or a “stupid fucking slut”. You feel like shit. The pain and guilt of what you did weighs heavy on you and, unlike the flu or even depression, no one feels sorry for you.
Bipolar disorder, in my mind, is the “bad guy disease”. No one wants to help someone when their symptoms aren’t coughing and sneezing but lying and cheating. BUT THAT DOESN’T MEAN WE DON’T NEED HELP AND SUPPORT! It’s a mental disorder. A disease of the brain that is very much handled well if treated properly. But that doesn’t mean that we don’t still make mistakes. That doesn’t mean that we don’t care.
I told my best friend Nancy that in my most manic high (the stage of my mania where I was so high I could literally orgasm without any physical contact) that the little Jiminy Cricket in my head was so quiet I almost couldn’t hear him. I was determined and unable to think clearly in the slightest. I told her I’m going to cheat and I feel like I can’t hold back any longer. It was such a damn rush that thinking about it to this day makes me sick to know I felt that wicked…and that I still crave that feeling again.
Bottom line: Get help when you are having an episode. Talk to people. Find a good support group. Use the countless resources available to you whether it be literature or medical.
This post has gone on long enough. I’ll let you guys know what exactly happened in my next post. Maybe then I can help some other poor soul from making the same mistakes I made.
It’s not worth it. It never is.